Texas Trades Kevin Hilton, Jonathan Moroney to Winnipeg
In American Association Daily, Robert Pannier examines the trade between the Texas AirHogs and the Winnipeg Goldeyes. The transaction sent OF Jonathan Moroney and RHP Kevin Hilton to Winnipeg for four players to be named later.
How the Deal Effects the Winnipeg Goldeyes
While Jonathan Moroney is going to see plenty of playing time in Winnipeg, the truth is that Kevin Hilton was the key. Left-handers Kevin McGovern and Mitch Lambson have arguably been the best 1-2 tandem of any team in the league. McGovern leads the league in wins and Lambson is tied for second as the two have combined for 21 victories.
However, the rest of this rotation has been mediocre at best. Parker French is third on the team in wins with five, but he also has a 5.49 ERA. There have been 13 different pitchers that have made starts for the Goldeyes and that is not the hallmark of a Rick Forney team. The Winnipeg Manager is known for building championship teams out of great starting pitching and he simply cannot depend upon the rotation beyond his two aces.
Hilton immediately steps in to become the No. 3 guy. The right-hander was only 3-9 in Texas with a 4.57 ERA, but he has top tier stuff. He was just in a tough situation with the AirHogs that probably added a run to his ERA. In his one start for the Goldeyes, Hilton allowed three earned runs in seven innings. If he gives that kind of performance each time out, he will likely win four games down the stretch.
While it is understandable that Hilton drew much of the attention. Jonathan Moroney is a huge addition as well. The Goldeyes had lost their best hitter when Tyler Hill had his contract purchased, leaving a big gap at the top of their lineup. While Moroney is probably not the same quality in terms of fielding, he is a talented hitter who has speed.
Moroney was hitting .309 for the AirHogs at the time of the deal, and had stolen 13 bases on 14 attempts. He is a very professional hitter, who uses all parts of the field, adding 17 doubles and 7 triples for Texas. While off to a tough start in his first four games for Winnipeg (3-15, 3 runs, 3 RBI), he will heat up and completely mitigates the loss of Hill.
How the Deal Effects the Texas AirHogs
No one actually thought that Texas was ready to be a division contender in 2019, but 2020 suddenly took on a whole new look. The AirHogs have been playing exceptionally well of late, especially at home, where they had won 10 of 12 games recently.
These young Chinese players are developing well under the tutelage of Manager Chris Bando, and this team could very well be a contender in the South next year. Now that they have four pieces to assist in that process, this could very well be a team to reckon with.
For those who are skeptical of the deal, just remember the name Daniel Minor. Minor was sent to Gary Southshore from Winnipeg in 2017 in a deal that sent RailCats ace Charle Rosario to the Goldeyes. He had struggled in Winnipeg, posting a 5.23 ERA in 21 appearances, but came to the RailCats and went 3-1 with a 1.47 ERA in seven appearances to end the 2017 season. Last year, he was the best pitcher in the American Association, going 11-2 with a 2.51 ERA in 15 starts before his contract was purchased to play in Mexico.
If there is a Daniel Minor in that group of four players, then the AirHogs suddenly have an ace to build their staff around next season.
By Robert Pannier